This has been a very fun learning process that highlights why I really like ski / snowboard tuning as a hobby. I have been doing this for years and keep adding to my skills. This makes not only the end results that much better, but when you are doing it right, it is a lot less effort in getting there as well. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but another thing I learned is that I suck at taking pictures of ski bases that show anything. The flash blew everything out so that most of the pictures were just a mess. Toko Repair Powder:
I really like the repair this stuff made. It is very clean and after working and restructuring the area repaired is difficult to tell the difference between where I repaired and where the original base is. That being said, it did take some practice to get just right. A couple things that I learned were
- I needed a lot less than I thought. The stuff is still p-tex on some level and so it does flow to where it is needed. This is helped along by the fact that you are pressing it in with the iron on top of the "foil" (see through plastic sheet things) that they give you. If you use too much it does not heat through as well which would mean you would have to use higher heat / leave it there longer / remove more material afterward.
- Work in a smaller area. This might defeat the purpose I got the stuff for in the first place on some level but I found it was a little tougher to get the repair heated evenly over too large an area. I erred on the side of "don't burn my bases" since you are working with a 320 F degree iron. This also meant that if I was not careful I had areas that were perfect and then a couple areas on the edge that pulled away when I scraped. When I worked in an area that was about 1/3 of the "foil" I had the best results. You might be able to push that to 1/2 with practice.
- Use a really sharp scraper. This is good advice with any repair I suppose and is really no different here. I have a ski-visions base planer thing. While I have been using a glue-scraper that has a really sharp carbide blade on it for removing p-tex, the repair is pretty thin and close to the base already without a lot of excess material. I sharpened the steel ski-visions blade right before using it and that made for a really clean couple of passes and a nice result.
I think the application that I used it for is idea for a home repair. This is due to the fact that it was a large area, but fairly shallow scratches overall. If you dripped p-tex into the whole area and then scraped it off, I would imagine it would have a negative result on that area being able to accept wax. This stuff is nice in that it is very much like the original base of the ski in its ability to accept wax. I didn't experiment on deeper holes, but I would imagine that it would not work that well. To get the material heated through evenly in a deeper hole would likely require a lot of heat in the area in general which might not be a good thing. Very Hard Race Base Wax:
So after all the repairs, I went ahead and waxed the skis with the wax that Alpinord
mentioned earlier in the thread. Very interesting stuff. I took my time melting this stuff in and used a higher iron setting than I normally would. I think I was at 300 F or so if I remember right (I should look at the iron again to be sure) and maybe could have been a little higher. I let it sit for almost 24 hours before scraping. This is where it was really neat. The stuff is really hard. When it comes off, it is like very fine powder instead of curls of wax. I resharpened my plastic scraper every few passes while I worked on the skis. It got dull very fast. After all the scraping, the skis look great! It is like a fountain of youth for the bases. Now I can't speak yet firsthand to the durability of the stuff, but I would imagine that it will work great for any of the remaining shallow scratches that I didn't fill with the powder. I actually left a couple on purpose just to compare how it looks and longer term if it stays. While I don't think this is something I will use on every tune, when I have to overhaul a pair of skis where I do a lot of base work and have to basically flatten and restructure the whole thing anyway, this stuff seems indispensable.